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Brothers of Italy, a party with neo-fascist roots, took the largest share of the votes in Italy’s elections Sunday, a win that has raised fears over a Eurosceptic party governing a founding member of the European Union and the bloc’s third-largest economy, the Associated Press reported.
Near-final results showed that Italy’s center-right coalition won around 44 percent of the vote, with the Brothers of Italy securing about 26 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, the other coalition partners, the anti-immigrant League and the moderate Forza Italia of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, each won less than 10 percent of the vote.
Meanwhile, the center-left Democratic Party and its allies gained around 26 percent.
Turnout was at an all-time low of 64 percent. According to pollsters, voters remained home partly because they were dissatisfied with the backroom negotiations that had established the three governments since the previous election.
Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni is poised to become the country’s next prime minister and the first female to hold the position. The formation of a government is still weeks away and will involve negotiations among the center-right coalition and President Sergio Mattarella.
Right-wing leaders and politicians across Europe praised Meloni’s victory, with French far-right leader Marine Le Pen hailing the result as a “lesson in humility” for the EU.
Meloni’s Brothers of Italy traces its origins to the post-war, neo-fascist Italian Social Movement. The party leader is known for her anti-immigrant stance and Eurosceptic rhetoric.
During the campaign, however, she attempted to distance her party from its fascist past.
Analysts noted that the right-wing coalition’s victory comes as Italy grapples with soaring energy costs caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Meloni’s allies, Berlusconi and League leader Matteo Salvini, are known to have ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Observers told CNBC that questions remain as to how much will Meloni veer Italy to the right, including whether she will take a pro-NATO and pro-Ukraine stance or be more concerned with challenging the EU’s rules like other Eurosceptic leaders.